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Introducing the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines

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The newly released 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines, created by AAHA and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) updates the 2013 AAFP Feline Vaccination Advisory Panel Report.

And they come with a slew of all-new, helpful resources.

NEWStat talked to Amy Stone, DVM, PhD, chair of the 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines Task Force, to find out what veterinary teams can expect.

NEWStat: What are the major updates to the 2020 guidelines?

Amy Stone: There’s new information about how best to time kitten vaccinations to overcome the interference of maternally derived antibodies. While keeping the concepts of core and noncore, the new guidelines further define feline patient populations to determine their specific risk for disease exposure. It’s no longer just indoor cats versus outdoor cats. There’s also a section about how to best use in-clinic serology to diagnose disease and, in certain cases, to determine when to vaccinate. Finally, there is an extensive section updating the view on feline injection-site sarcomas.

NEWStat: How will the updated guidelines help veterinary professionals practice better medicine?

AS: The updated guidelines provide new information on the timing of feline vaccines for the best protection of cats from preventable infectious diseases. These changes help practitioners determine the best individualized infectious disease prevention strategy for their feline patients based on the most recent evidence available. Additionally, they give practitioners and their entire staff tools to communicate the importance of vaccines to clients.

NEWStat: How can practitioners think differently about the way they treat cats?

AS: I actually think they should be thinking differently about how they consider disease susceptibility and what patient population the cat belongs to. For example, there are some outdoor cats who come into contact with fewer other cats than indoor cats do.

 NEWStat: Can you talk a little bit about the lifestyle-based vaccine calculator?

AS: The calculator allows a practitioner to put in the lifestyle factors of the cat, the age of the cat, and the type of vaccine that they have in their practice. The result is a recommendation for how to vaccinate that cat in that moment and for the future. It then produces a customized PDF printout with the patient name that can be attached to the record or even given to the client. It’s a great conversation starter for veterinarians and pet owners.

NEWStat: What are some other highlights?

AS: The guidelines are mobile-ready, so you can access them easily from a smartphone. Plus, they include:

  • Robust FAQs and tips for client and staff education
  • Recommendations for core and noncore vaccines for pet and shelter-housed cats
  • A webinar summarizing the must-see and clinically important sections of the guidelines (available in October)

The 2020 AAHA/AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines are available online! Read them at aaha.org/felinevaccination or catvets.com/vaccination.

AAHA would like to express its gratitude to the AAFP for the opportunity to work together in the creation of these guidelines.